Netflix cracks down on password sharing in SA

Lungile Msomi
By Lungile Msomi, ITWeb journalist
Johannesburg, 21 Jul 2023
Netflix begins crackdown on password sharing in South Africa.
Netflix begins crackdown on password sharing in South Africa.

US-based streaming service Netflix has begun enforcing restrictions on password sharing across its markets, including South Africa.

The company is implementing its paid-sharing service in SA and additional markets, to turn service borrower household accounts into full paying Netflix memberships.

This is according to a statement in the company’s second quarter results released this week.

In May, Netflix introduced paid-sharing to 100+ countries, and the service is being gradually rolled out across each market.

This, after the streaming service previously complained that over 100 million households across the world were watching Netflix without directly paying for the service, due to widespread account sharing.

Netflix says tackling account sharing between households has been a great focus for the company, as it undermines its ability to invest in improving the streaming service for paying members and grow the business.

“The cancel reaction was low and while we’re still in the early stages of monetisation, we’re seeing healthy conversion of borrower households into full paying Netflix memberships, as well as the uptake of our extra member feature.”

The global streaming giant saw nearly six million additional subscriber sign-ups in the quarter ending June after a limited rollout of the restriction.

The additional membership option allows Netflix users to add an extra member to the main account for an extra fee.

“Beginning today, we’ll start to address account sharing between households in almost all of our remaining countries,” says Netflix.

“In these markets, we’re not offering an extra member option, given that we’ve recently cut prices in a good number of these countries (for example, Indonesia, Croatia, Kenya and India) and penetration is still relatively low in many of them, so we have plenty of runway without creating additional complexity.”

In the report, Netflix says its revenue grew to $8.19 billion, while the projected revenue was $8.30 billion.

While subscriber growth increased after the introduction of the paid-sharing service, Netflix’s revenue grew by 2.7% compared to the year-ago period.

Households borrowing Netflix passwords will be able to transfer existing profiles to new membership accounts.

Local video-entertainment company MultiChoice announced in February that it would be opening password sharing for DSTV customers. The company said it would allow password sharing among viewers, given that they are in the same location.

Other streaming services available in SA − such as Disney+ and Amazon Prime − allow for a limited number of users to share passwords and add multiple profiles to the main account.